The unidentified remains of people killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center in New York were moved into a repository at the bedrock level of Ground Zero on Saturday after a procession through Manhattan streets.
The 7,930 fragmentary remains, which had been placed in sealed containers, were escorted by fire, police and Port Authority vehicles with flashing lights and no sirens from a forensics laboratory in Manhattan to the repository at the site of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
The repository is to be under the care of the city’s chief medical examiner, whose office will continue trying to match the fragments to the more than 1,000 people killed in the attacks who have yet to have had any remains identified, officials said.
The attacks killed 2,996 people in total.
The repository is sealed off from exhibition areas by a wall and will only be accessible to the medical examiner’s staff and family members of the people killed, who will be able to visit the space even when the museum is closed, city officials said.
Some family members of those killed in the attacks protested against the moving of the remains, saying it was wrong to store the remains at what is essentially a tourist site, adding that the underground repository could be subject to flooding.
They put black bands over their mouths in a silent protest as the procession rolled past.
“The human remains repository is most certainly a part of the museum,” Jim Riches, the chairman of the 9/11 Parents & Families of Firefighters and WTC Victims group, said in a statement.
Other family members of people killed in the attacks have said they support the move.